Friday, June 17, 2016

"Fear Not! I Bring You Good News of Great Joy!"

Those are the words the angels spoke to the shepherds when they were announcing the birth of our Savior. This was also the scripture that I referenced in my message to a room filled with beautiful women at Christ the King Church last night. When I was asked to speak for this event several months ago, I was asked to speak on JOY. This scripture immediately resonated within me. I found it so timely with the recent tragedies in our country, the loss of lives not only here but abroad, the pain and suffering that seems so abundant, and the grief and sadness that so many are facing.

Yesterday, I planned on spending the day in meditation and preparing for last night's message. Just as I was about to sit down in my comfy chair, I looked out my back window and saw two fire trucks going through the neighborhood. Though I'm inquisitive, I thought "Just maybe one of my neighbors is in trouble", so I hastened out my door and a neighbor waved me down to tell me that one of our neighbors, only 63 years old, had been found, deceased, that morning by his parents. My heart went out to them, but initially thought "I didn't know him well so I'll go home back to my studies." As I drove into my garage, I heard God's "still small voice" say "You can help his parents. Take them the 'good news of great joy that lives in you.'" I went there and this precious mother and father were having to take the unspeakable role of seeing after their boy and having to make hard decisions that no parent would ever want to have to make for their child. Immediately, I knew why I, and a couple of other of my girl friends from the neighborhood were "on call" this day. It was more than obvious that this precious mother and father were Christians because, even though they were hurting, their faith gave them so much strength. We talked a lot about the peace of God while waiting hours for the police, the doctor's opinion, the medical examiner and the vehicle that eventually took the son away. I wasn't aware that when someone dies alone in a home that it's seen as a crime scene until certain procedures were carried out. Once again, that scripture verse was timely as I shared God's Word and the angel's word "Fear Not; I bring you good news of great joy" to this couple.

I cried with this precious mama as I remembered those words many times when I needed them the most. My own sweetheart had been very ill for several months, but we weathered the storm because those words: “Fear not. I bring you good news of great joy!” Initially, when we received the diagnosis of Stage 4 Kidney cancer we wrestled with that COMMAND – not a suggestion -- “Do Not Fear”. Why does God COMMAND us not to be afraid when every day there are situations that occur and it seems impossible NOT to fear? We found the answer to that question by focusing on the GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY that the angel spoke about. As I think back on those months, without doubt -- we did experience GREAT JOY in the midst of doctor's appointments, treatments, six surgeries, pain, and discomfort. We laughed. We celebrated life. We embraced each other and we embraced our friends and family like never before. It is possible to have peace and joy, like the shepherds had, right in the middle of the darkest night.

I leave this word to YOU today. Who knows what tomorrow may hold for you or a loved one? But, be of good cheer, the GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY will show up for you. After all, He brings with Him "Tidings of comfort AND joy" when we need it most.